There's a myth that says if your work is meaningful enough, you don't need to practice self-care. That is a complete lie. We're all serving one another. As such, it's really important for people who are serving clients to take that moment for self-care. On today’s show, Melanie Parish chats with leadership development expert Tony Loyd about self-care and how to increase it. They also touch on the imposter syndrome and how we can reinforce our own value as human beings.
Listen to the podcast here:
Taking The Moment For Self-Care With Tony Loyd
I'm here with Tony Loyd. He's a leadership development expert. He helps purpose-driven business leaders to thrive in life so that they can connect with others and contribute to the world. He's a former Fortune 500 executive with companies such as John Deere, Medtronic and Buffalo Wild Wings. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, talent management and leadership development. Tony is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, business coach and podcast host. He's the author of Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs. Tony, I'm excited to have you on my show.
I am honored to be here. Thank you.
I would love to dive in and have you tell me a little bit about what you're doing in your work now?
Like you, I'm an author, a speaker, a coach and a podcaster as well. Believe it or not, I'm crazy enough that I'm producing three different podcasts at the same time. If you know what that looks like, you know how crazy I am.
I'm curious about why you're doing 3 at one time. I hope we can talk about that.
I have a podcast and it's called Social Entrepreneur. It's where we tell positive stories from under-represented voices focused on solutions. A social entrepreneur, as you probably know, they make a dollar but they also make a difference. I've had this podcast since November of 2015. We passed our 300th episode. That's a lot of fun. I've enjoyed it. In 2019 I took a little break and I had a personal breakthrough a little self-care time. As I came out of that at the beginning of 2020, I was thinking, "I had to pause for a second."
Melanie, you know how this is. Sometimes you have to pause and say, "What the heck happened there?" At the end of 2019, I summarized everything that I had learned. Right at the beginning of 2020, I wrote a blog post. It's about my year of personal best and what I had learned there. Part of what I had learned there was, I felt like we are put here on earth to connecting with other people, with a higher purpose, with nature, etc. We're here to contribute and what your contribution looks like is different than mine. Before you can connect and contribute, you have to practice self-care. I call that thriving.
The second podcast I was launching at the beginning of 2020, and it's called Thrive. Connect. Contribute. It's about people who thrive in life, connect with others and contribute to the world. With the COVID-19 crisis hitting us, I added the span in the face of adversity. I talked to people who are resilient and what they've learned from their resilience and how they thrive in life, connect with others, and contribute to the world in the face of adversity. I live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metroplex. The third podcast came about when George Floyd was murdered here. I felt like I needed to do something, but I wasn't quite sure what that something was. I popped off and said something on Facebook. One of my friends from many years called me out on it and she said, "Big boy, you've got a platform. You've got an audience. What are you going to do about this?"
To my complete reluctance, I launched a podcast between now and the November US elections called Antiracist Voter. It's how can we, as a society, use our vote in the upcoming election to dismantle systemic racism as it exists. As a 61-year-old white male, I'm aware of the fact that I'm doing this from a position of privilege. This podcast isn't about me, it's about the community leaders and the candidates for office, the policies, positions and people who are dismantling systemic racism. That's the third podcast. Between that, the speaking and the book, and all these other crazy things, I'm having a busy year.
I want to applaud you both owning your own privilege and using that platform to give voice to something that's important. Kudos to you for doing something rather than trying to talk about how somebody should do something.
It beats yelling at people on Facebook. It beats the heck out of that.
I have a few friends who do that regularly. It becomes cloying after a while. You have a book. I'm not sure when that book came out, but tell me about your book.
I mentioned that I have the podcast called Social Entrepreneur, so I interview people who are making a dollar and a difference they're making money, but the money has a mission and they live a life of meaning. Those are the people I've been talking to. Probably a lot like you, at the end of every podcast episode, I ask them for their best piece of advice. What's something that we can learn from you that you could pass on to early-stage social entrepreneurs? After the first 150 episodes, I began to realize that there was a pattern.
I kept hearing the same advice again and again. Being a spreadsheet geek, somebody who likes to do things in spreadsheets, I put everything in a spreadsheet and I said, "What are their key pieces of advice in one column?" In the next column I said, "If I were to put that in a category, how would I categorize that key piece of advice?" I sorted the sheet and sure enough, it turns out that there are only ten key pieces of advice that they were giving again and again. The book is called Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs.
It's fantastic that the experimental leader in me just thinks and loves the way that you did that.
What's the top one?
The top one is to get ready for a lot of work. That's the number one thing. The title, Crazy Good Advice, comes from a guy out of Seattle. His name is Luni Libes, and Luni runs an accelerator called Fledge. He has started up several companies. He helps other people do startup companies and his key piece of advice was this, "When you tell your family and your friends, neighbors and your loved ones that you're starting a business and they tell you that you are crazy, they are right." You are not right here. They are right. You have to be crazy to do this stuff, but if you're going to go through the trouble of starting a business, you might as well make the biggest impact you possibly can.
That's where that title comes from. It's about, you have to be crazy enough to make a big impact. That was the number one key piece of advice. You have to be ready for some massive effort, and don't be surprised by that. The second one that goes right behind that then was purpose drives, passion. Passion will give you that motivation to get through the dark night of the soul. Every startup goes through this valley of death where you're going seriously like, "Why did I choose to do this? Nobody held a gun to my head." When you focus on that purpose that is when you make some progress.
I can't wait to read your book. It sounds fantastic. Tony, I'd love to make a little shift here and ask you to dive into telling us a little bit about what you do for your own self-care.
I'm sure that you get bombarded every day with different pieces of advice. Some of it good and some of it bad about how the practice self-care, the things that you can do. One of the things I had to do for myself was ahead of figure out, what are those connecting? One of the things I had to do at the beginning of 2019 was, I created a self-assessment. I looked at my life in everything that I could measure. My physical wellbeing, I went to the doctor and I got a big, complete workup. They looked at all the blood cholesterol and the BMI and whatever else.
I looked at my financial wellbeing. I looked at these different things, but then for self-care, it also includes our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual self-care, social marital and parental. Those are things that you can't measure on a chart. I put together a self-assessment. It has ten different areas. For each of those ten areas, I measured myself on a scale of 1 to 10. I then asked myself, "Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What's my plan to get myself from where I am now to where I want to be?" For each of these areas, I created a plan to boost my self-care in my physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual wellbeing, which I call thriving. In my social, my marital, and as a parent, my parental wellbeing, I call that connecting.
My vocational, my financial, and my application, which includes my hobbies and causes, which I call contributing for each of those areas, I made a plan for how to increase my wellbeing. The main trick for me, Melanie, is my calendar. I have to block time for each of these areas and for activities that help me. I'm on a plant-based diet that seems to be working for me. I lost a lot of weight. My cholesterol went down. I'm a runner. Running doesn't just help me physically, but then it's an emotional, spiritual practice for me. It helps me to get out into nature, which is good for me. Other things like I do a morning meditation, mindfulness meditation, I use the app called Headspace. I had a whole list of practices in each of these areas to practice self-care.
This may be a silly question, but you talked about how to increase your self-care. What was it in you that you noticed that made you know that you needed to increase your self-care that it wasn't right where it was?
I don't know how much you want to get into it, but I have to say at the end of 2018, I was suffering. It was a dark night of the soul for me. Being a person of privilege, it's hard for me to say out loud that I was depressed because there's a part of me that as soon as those words come out of my mouth, I say, "You jerk, what have you got to be anxious or depressed about?" I went to a breakfast meeting with a friend who asked me, "How are you doing?" At that moment, I had to make a decision, "Am I going to tell him the truth or am I going to pass it off the way that I always do?" which is, "I'm fine. I'm great. I'm fantastic."
I was honest and transparent with him. I said, "The truth is that I am depressed." We talked about that. What does that look like? What causes that? There's a part of me that at that point he asked me, "Why do you think you are depressed?" I gave him the answer that had been given to me by doctors and psychologists, etc. I said, "My brain is broken. I have low serotonin, and I need to do things to boost that. I may take St. John's Wort, or if that doesn't work, I might get on a pill." He pushed back on that a little bit. One of the gifts that he did for me was he sent me a book and it's called Lost Connections: Why You're Depressed and How to Find Hope.
It's written by a guy named Johann Hari and he's out of the UK. He traveled the world. He talked to the top experts about anxiety and depression. What he found was that there are nine causes of anxiety and depression. Only two of them have anything to do with your genetic disposition or changes in your brain chemistry. He says that the things that cause you to be anxious and depressed include things like a disconnection from, and that's why it causes lost connections. A disconnection from, for example, meaningful work or disconnection from other people, disconnection from status and respect, from the natural world, from meaningful values or even disconnection from your own traumas in your own life. He named these nine causes of anxiety and depressions, only two of which have anything to do with your genetic disposition were changes in your brain chemistry.
What that did for me, Melanie, was it told me that I have a choice. I have a sense of agency that I can practice self-care in these areas. In 2019, I did a personal experiment, which I called My Year of Personal Bests. In these ten different areas, I measured myself, I set a goal and I went about trying to live my best year ever in each of those areas. I talked to somebody about that and they are a startup founder and they said, "I am jealous. I wish I would have done that in 2019, so I would have had the strength to get through 2020." 2020 is a bear of a year for all of us. That's the thing that sent me up on that journey. I felt like I had been doing a nice job on connecting with others and contributing to the world, but that's still not enough if you're not practicing self-care.
I love that you went into that story more. It's interesting. I know for me, especially in 2020, I have felt depleted as a coach just because of the sheer amount of suffering from my clients. My clients are suffering, so it becomes a much heavier load. It's like everybody loaded up their backpacks with giant metal cans, bottles of water and they handed them all to me. I have felt that differently this 2020. I started swimming again. I swim 2 or 3 times a week. It's a meditation for me as well as physical activity. I knew I missed it. I didn't realize until I was nearly giddy and euphoric what it does for me. I went, "This is how I have reserves." I feel that deep joy, but also that meditation. I'm not a meditator but I can swim. It gives me an outcome that's similar. I do think it's been an unusual time for self-care and the depletion of reserves.
If we think about caretakers, let's say somebody who's caring for the elderly, a nurse, a doctor, a firefighter, or someone who is the person who comes in when times are bad, we know as a society, "I wish those people would practice more self-care because they need those reserves in order to be able to serve us." What I think we have forgotten about is we're all serving one another. Especially coaches or people who are doing this social or community or environmental work, that is not enough to sustain us. There's a myth that says, "If your work is meaningful enough, then you don't need to practice self-care." That is a complete lie. It's important as coaches, as people who are serving clients, it's important that we take that moment for self-care.
For me, the fact that my work was meaningful got me through about fifteen years, and then I had to start figuring out how to refuel the tank. It's such an interesting thought. I want to ask you because I know you worked with lots of leaders, you've been a leader yourself. I want to talk to you a little bit about imposter syndrome. I'm not going to ask you to bare your soul and tell us your deepest, darkest secrets, although I suspect you might be willing to. I have clients who are talking about imposter syndrome. Women in particular talk about imposter syndrome. The whole tech industry talks about imposter syndrome. I'd love to have a conversation with you to hear your thoughts on it and what you've seen that works for people, any insights you can offer.
My imposter syndrome comes when I am trying to do something on social media. Social media reinforces this idea that some people are worthy and valuable and some people aren't. They're training us like rats to try to position things and to try to shape things in a way. It gets more empathy and more likes, shares, and retweets. We're living in a world of seeing these and these "influencers" who can get millions of followers, likes, retweets, and whatever else. We're down here in the mud. That comes up for a lot of people. The extrinsic reinforcements and rewards to the intrinsic reinforcements and rewards.
What do I mean by that? If I put out something and this is the thing that I'm about, and I put it out there and no one reacts to that, I'm okay with that. The reason I'm okay with that is because it's me being me, completely me and that's that. I have to figure out, “What am I here on Earth?” I said, "We all need to make a contribution." Those intrinsic rewards versus extrinsic rewards, that's the important part. This was interesting for me, a few years ago I was on a trip to China. I was launching a brand-new training program. This thing was powerful. We had a global group that was there, from New Zealand, Australia, and also all around the Pacific Rim. We did this workshop and I left that workshop so high because we had knocked it out of the park. I sent a quick email with a summary of what I had learned, seen, and done.
I sent it to my boss and thumb-typing I had misspelled the word. His only reply to me was, "You misspelled that word." That was it. I gave him the glowing report. I said, "We killed it, this crushes. It’s wonderful. We're all amazing." In moments like that, I have to figure out what role does his opinion have in my wellbeing? How much permission do I need to give him in order to say, "He gets to decide whether or not I am valuable, my work is valuable, the thing I do is valuable?" That is the trick. That's the Jedi mind trick of figuring out where does your value comes from? Are you valuable, yes or no? Do you have value as a human being? Yes or no. No one else can give you that, and therefore, no one else has the power to take it away from you. For me, when I'm practicing self-care, and I'm thinking about that whole idea about the imposter syndrome only I can make myself feel like imposture. The way that I do that is with all these external comparisons and then also external rewards. By reinforcing my own value as a human being, that's how I get past that.
Thank you. I find that fascinating to think about how you think about it. We all grapple with how we see ourselves in our internal landscape, that's where we solve these problems, but it's helpful to hear how you walk through it in your own mind. Where can people find you, Tony?
The only tricky bit about finding me is my last name is spelled with one L. My name is Tony Loyd. It's TonyLoyd.com, or you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other place you're looking for. You can find me, @TonyLoyd.
Thank you for being here. It's been fascinating to hear your thoughts on all of these things. I've loved to know what you're up to and how you think about your place in the world.
Thank you, Melanie.
I enjoyed talking to Tony Loyd. I'm fascinated by the way he wrote his book, Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs. He did it by interviewing a bunch of social entrepreneurs and realizing that mostly all of them said ten things when he asked for their best advice for new social entrepreneurs. It's a great way to develop a product from gathering data. I love data collection. Look around in your own business to see where you can collect data and move something forward because you find a pattern you didn't know existed. Go experiment.
About Tony Loyd
Tony Loyd is a leadership development expert. He helps purpose-driven business leaders to thrive in life so that they can connect with others and contribute to the world.
He is a former Fortune 500 executive with companies such as John Deere, Medtronic, and Buffalo Wild Wings. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, talent management, and leadership development.
Tony is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, business coach, and podcast host. He is the Executive Producer of the podcast Social Entrepreneur where he shares positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions. Social Entrepreneur is downloaded more than half a million times in over 180 countries.
Tony also hosts Thrive. Connect. Contribute. where he tells positive stories of people who thrive in life, connect with others, and contribute to the world in the face of adversity.
He also produces Antiracist Voter where we focus on criminal justice, economic justice, environmental justice, education, housing, health, immigration, and voting rights.
He is a TEDx speaker and the best-selling author of Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs.
A public speaker, consultant, workshop leader, author, and Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation, from whom she received the Prism Award, Melanie is an expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, strategic hiring, and brand development.